Friday, April 10, 2009

On My Way to Mommy Jail... Adventures in Parenting Part 1: "The Contortionist Years"

I have been lucky enough to be blessed with a boy-child.  Miraculously, he has made it to adulthood without any major disasters.

What really amazes me is that during the course of raising him, I never had to go to Mommy Jail. I often resorted to reverse psychology to convince my child that some of the things he had planned were not in his best interest... not because he would get into trouble, but because I might get sent to Mommy Jail!  

Mommy Jail is a place where they send incompetent parents who allow their children to come to harm while doing incredibly stupid stuff.

Which would, of course, mean no tasty dinners, bedtime stories, or kisses goodnight while the beloved parent is in Mommy Jail.  Over the years I have come close several times to going to Mommy Jail... mostly because I was willing to go along with my child's incredibly stupid ideas.

Take, for example, what I fondly refer to as "The Contortionist Years."  As long as I can remember, my son (we'll call him Vladimir to maintain his anonymity) has loved squeezing into small places.  This actually began in utero.  The kid loved hanging out in there... so much so that he didn't want to come out.  He was having way too much fun rolling around and poking me in various uncomfortable places.  Two and a half weeks after my due date, my doctor finally decided enough was enough and she proceeded to induce me.  Still no action.  By the time Vladimir finally popped out, we understood why it took so long.  He measured in at ten pounds and 23 1/2 inches long.  For god's sake, the kid was almost two feet tall!  How did he ever manage to fit in there?

As the little rascal grew, and grew, and grew, he still loved squeezing his long, lean body into small places.  One day Vladimir decided to play hide and seek.  Unfortunately, he didn't clue me into the fact that we were playing this game.  I was becoming frantic, searching high and low, from the basement to the attic, looking for him.  Standing in the second floor hallway looking perplexed, I suddenly heard a small voice at my feet.

With a "Hi, Mommy!", little Vladimir popped open the door to the laundry chute... where he was dangling in thin air two stories above the basement!  And to top it off, he had the biggest, sweetest smile on his face I had ever seen!

I was admirably cool, calm and collected as I responded:

"HOLY CRAP!  How did you get in there, Vladimir?!  Get out of there this INSTANT before they come and take me to MOMMY JAIL!"

Crestfallen, Vladimir crawled out and waited patiently for me to calm down.  Just about as my heart beat returned to normal... he asked if I wouldn't consider tying a rope around his waist and carefully lowering him to the basement via the laundry chute.   That way I wouldn't have to worry about him falling and I wouldn't have to go to Mommy Jail.

Didn't he hear anything I had just said?  Couldn't he envision what the repercussions would be if the rope slipped and he crashed to the bottom and we had to call the ambulance?  Or worse, if he got stuck in the laundry chute and we had to call the fire department to extricate him?
Which would in turn result in a call to the police to take me to the dreaded Mommy Jail?

You can guess what happened next...

We went to the sporting goods store where we bought some sturdy climbing rope. Back home I drew on my ancient scouting skills to tie a rope around him with a knot that wouldn't tighten up and asphyxiate him.  Gingerly, we lowered him down into the laundry chute, all the while praying he wouldn't get stuck.  

He never made it to the bottom of the laundry chute as it turned out it was a tight fit after all. But at least we didn't have to call the fire department to pry him out again.

And I didn't have to go to Mommy Jail.


Vic said...

My husband tethered my daughter to the roof once when she was about three - he was working up there and she wanted to be up there too.
I came home and there she was, waving from way up on the second story. I'm still surprised no one called the cops!

(Your son was so adventurous!)

Nicole Maynard-Sahar said...

You know, this is why some schools are afraid to get too creative and stick to the worksheets. I'm sure "Vladimir" kept his enthusiasm into adulthood. Fun stories!

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